Norfolk Solicitation Lawyer

Although many members of society may not see it as a major criminal act, prostitution and solicitation continue to be illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and in almost every other state.

There are no exceptions under Virginia law when it comes to solicitation, and the penalties have the potential to be harsh for solicitation convictions.

If you are facing solicitation or other related charges, getting the advice of a Norfolk solicitation lawyer may help clarify your options. Consult a knowledgeable defense attorney who could determine the strategy that is best designed to meet your goals.

What Constitutes Solicitation of Prostitution

According to Va. Code § 18.2-346, solicitation of prostitution occurs when individuals offer money or anything of value to another for the purposes of procuring the performance of one or more sexual acts and take some substantial action toward completing the transaction.

As is the case with a prostitution offense, it is insufficient for the purposes of this law that individuals merely offer money or something of value in exchange for sex. Rather, the individuals must take some significant step to consummate the solicitation.

For instance, if individuals send a text message to another offering to pay for sex, the act of solicitation is legally incomplete. However, if individuals follow up that text message by actually giving cash to another, then solicitation within the meaning of the law probably has occurred.

Note that the performance of any sex act or even any physical contact is not required for individuals to be convicted of solicitation. The mere exchange of money can be enough to trigger a solicitation charge and/or lead to a conviction.

Possible Penalties for Solicitation

Like the criminal offense of prostitution under Virginia law, solicitation of prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Each party to a prostitution/solicitation transaction faces equal criminal charges and sanctions. The potential consequences of a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction include up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

The charge is enhanced, however, for individuals who solicit prostitution from minors. If the minor is 16 or older, the charge is a Class 6 felony, but if the minor is under the age of 16, the charge is a Class 5 felony.

Under Va. Code § 18.2-10, Class 6 felonies carry a potential prison sentence ranging from one to five years, or, in the discretion of a judge or jury, a jail sentence of up to 12 months, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

For a Class 5 felony, the potential prison term ranges from one to ten years, but again, based on the discretion of a judge or jury, individuals could receive a jail sentence of up to 12 months, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

Defenses Against Solicitation Charges

Many individuals may not realize that their actions are illegal or that they amount to solicitation under Virginia law. Others may have miscommunicated their intentions or the alleged solicitation may be a complete misunderstanding. Whatever the case may be, there are many defenses that may be available to individuals who are facing solicitation or related charges.

Consulting a solicitation lawyer in Norfolk can be key to discovering and evaluating the applicability of these and other defenses to solicitation charges.

Meet with a Norfolk Solicitation Attorney for Advice

When accused of any type of crime, whether a misdemeanor or felony, exercising your rights to remain silent and seek the counsel of an attorney before making any statements is the most advisable course of action.

While the temptation to try and explain your actions is natural and understandable, you may inadvertently provide law enforcement authorities with evidence against you. You should consider speaking with a Norfolk solicitation lawyer first, you may be able to advise you on the best strategies for handling your case.